The Patriots defense stole one last night. There were no if ands or buts about it. The Pats don’t beat the Jets unless they get the kind of performances delivered by their defensive playmakers such as Chandler Jones Rob Ninkovich Aqib Talib Kyle Arrington Tommy Kelly etc.

The four sacks and three interceptions of rookie quarterback Geno Smith paved the way to a 13-10 win in the latest edition of the Border War. But let’s not get too excited or fooled by what transpired. This was after all the Jets.

If you’re in a life-and-death struggle with a team considered one of the worst in football that can’t possibly bode well for the near future. Unless things change drastically for the Pats they’re facing a long road ahead.

While we knew the offense would struggle with all its injuries last night’s effort was tough to watch. The Patriots have gone from being one of the most explosive units in the league to one of the least threatening and productive.

‘‘(There were) penalties dropped balls bad running plays . . . all of the above’’ said offensive lineman and captain Logan Mankins. ‘‘It was just a bad night for us. (We need to ) start executing. Last week we had turnovers. This week penalties and mistakes so we need to get this straightened out or it’s going to hurt us.’’

Once deadly in the red zone and on third down they now rarely convert. Last night’s output? Tom Brady & Co. converted just 4-of-18 third down attempts (22 percent) and did not score a touchdown during three red zone trips.

They didn’t fumble. Stevan Ridley held onto the football. But the Pats also didn’t have any run game to speak of gaining just 54 yards. As for their passing game that resembled something you might see in Jacksonville. Not Foxboro.

And as the latest reports will tell you Danny Amendola (groin) isn’t walking through that door any time soon. Neither is Shane Vereen (wrist). And you’re just hoping Rob Gronkowski is a reasonable facsimile of his former self when he does return.

The rookies? They’re rookies. They make mistakes. So either Brady is going to have to get it together with who’s there or the defense is going to have to win a lot more games.